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European Union Trust Fund (EUTF) - Support Programme for Refugee settlements in Northern Uganda (SPRS-NU) Livelihood and Labor Market Relevant Skills Development for Refugees & Host Communities

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Gaba earning big from hairdressing

Gaba earning big from hairdressing

Sarah Gaba is a 26-year-old South Sudanese refugee currently living in Bidi Bidi refugee settlement. She dropped out of school at senior two due to the war that broke out in her country. She hopes to go back home one day when peace is restored.    

Gaba came to Uganda on 16th October 2016 with her mother and a little son. Hers is a story of hope and hard work.   She was trained in hairdressing in 2019, a trade that has seen the young mother save Sh.11,000 on a weekly basis in her Village Saving Group. This has enabled Gaba to take care of her family.    
 “I think I have about Sh.200,000 on my account,” she says with a smile. Gaba earns an average of Sh. 250,000 from plaiting hair and Sh.400,000 from selling braids monthly.   
To expand her business, she got a loan of Sh.300,000 from her savings group to construct a small saloon.     “The loan is very expensive because it attracts an interest of 10% per month,” Gaba explains.   

Her main challenge is the lack of electricity which is a necessity for some hairstyles. She however improvises by requesting customers to sit under the sun to dry their hair.    
“If I can be helped to get solar power, it would increase my sales and output. Solar is good because it’s a one off cost,” she reasons.    

Gaba also lacks a signpost for her business. She relies on her good works as a marketing tool. A signpost would cost Sh.100,000 which for now she finds expensive.    
 Having participated in a supplementary training on business management, Gaba has improved her customer relations and better negotiates with suppliers.     Unlike previously, she also now keeps records to know whether the businesses is making profits or losses.  

“The training was helpful because I previously used to disappoint my customers, I have learned to inform and convince them now. When I am fully booked, they now wait,” Gaba shares.   

In the hope of making life better for others, Gaba has shared her skills with three other girls who have gone ahead to start their own saloons. She is currently training another set of three.      
Although her formal education was cut short by the pangs of war, Gaba has big dreams for her son.     “My dream is to take my son to a boarding school in Koboko or Arua district,” she says.   

Although she earns some income from the saloon business, Gaba hopes to double her monthly earnings from the current Sh.400,000.     More income, she says, will enable her to meet all expenses including school fees and medical care for the family.     

Gaba was trained by Enabel through the Norwegian Refugee Council under the Support to Skilling Uganda (SSU) project financed by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund.    

The project focuses on increasing access to quality skills development through offering training scholarships, entrepreneurship skills and start-up kits for refugees and host communities.  

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